(Garasu no Joni - yaju no yo ni miete)
Directed by Koreyoshi Kurahara
With Jo Shishido, Izumi Ashikawa, Daizaburo Hirata
Japan, 1962, 108 minutes
(All images copyright Nikkatsu Corporation)
The inaugural Monthly Classics series NO BORDERS, NO LIMITS: 1960s Nikkatsu Action Cinema, curated by noted author and critic Mark Schilling, continues at Japan Society this Friday, April 4th, 2008 with this homage to Fellini's La Strada. Like the other films in the series, Glass Johnny is being shown for the first time in the U.S.
Nikkatsu stalwart Shishido stars as a man who backs a struggling rider in hopes of winning big. Meanwhile, he also becomes the unwilling savior of a simple-minded prostitute with a heart of gold who's on the run from her pimp.
Izumi Ashikawa had previously portrayed cute-but-spunky girls, roles that had won her a devoted male following. (Animator Hayao Miyazaki was to later use her as a model for his anime heroines.) Her portrayal here of a character similar to Giulietta Masina's Gelsomina in La Strada marks Ashikawa's brazen move from childhood to womanhood.
Showtime is 7:30 PM. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between First and Second Avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E and V at Lexington Avenue and 53rd St.) For more information click here, or call the box office at 212-715-1258.
Japan Society's NO BORDERS, NO LIMITS: 1960s Nikkatsu Action Cinema will conclude with Yasuharu Hasebe's Roughneck on Friday, May 2, 2008. The series is co-organized by Outcast Cinema, and a tour of other US and Canadian venues is planned for later this year.